Chiryu

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Station #39:  This print shows the east field of Chiryu posting station where horse fairs were held every year from April 25 to May 5.  About 450 to 500 horses could be traded during prosperous years.  The streets were alive with many itinerent actors and musicians who entertained the traders assembled from all over the region. Horses were crucial to trade along the Tokaido, carrying freight and tourists.  The grooms who led the horses sang jaunty tunes to entertain their customers.  Each region had their unique songs which were often about beautiful women and wine.  \n  \nImage Copyright: Minneapolis Institute of Art Chiryu farms raised strong horses, much like America's Kentucky bluegrass country.  Here the memorial horse stands proudly as the traffic passes by, including one of his replacements, the delivery company truck for Kuro Neko (Black Cat), the UPS of Japan. Here a truck waits to merge onto Route 1, the national highway that replaced the Tokaido.  Nearby a memorial tablet is carved with a poem from the Manyoshu, the first collection of Japanese poetry from the 8th century. At Chiryu Shrine a young couple brought their young baby for the traditional blessing as he starts his new life.  The priest also blessed the couple's car so that the baby will always travel safely.